Apr 6 2016
This music drifts aimlessly at times, melodic fragments at the tender mercies of improvisational passages that will it onward in endless directions. But moment after moment, the music sounds as if arriving right on time, of rhythmic conversations coalescing into the same thought, of harmonic convergences that perilously stretch the seams that bind them, and of hazy melodic visions suddenly manifesting out of thin air, full and complete for one brief, perfect moment.
The duo that goes by the name of Linus has pulled this off before, but not with the sustained improvisations that mark their newest, Felt Like Old Folk. Looking back over guitarist Ruben Machtelinckx‘s body of work, it’s marked by radiant melodies that shine bright no matter how ambient and formless becomes the foundation its built upon. But on this new project, which sees the Linus duo of Machtelinckx and multi-reedist Thomas Jillings joined by the Hardanger fiddle and euphonium of Nils Økland and Niels Van Heertum, the melodies are infused with that same ambiance and formlessness normally reserved for tempo and tone.
The music is thick with the influence of the Nordic scene, weighted far heavier to the folk end of the spectrum, which lends the music so much of its rustic charm. This is music that barely disturbs the air, yet often emerges with a huge presence that can fill the entire room with its sound before drifting away again. The quartet manages to hold things together with this approach on the album’s 17+ minute opening track and they also succinctly fit it all in with the album’s other three, shorter tracks. All of it ends up sounding as peaceful as it does beautiful. It’s a frail sense of serenity that imposes its own version of tranquility upon the room, and its something very easy to fall happily into.
Your album personnel: Ruben Machtelinckx (acoustic baritone guitar, banjo), Thomas Jillings (tenor & C-melody saxophones, alto clarinet), Nils Økland (hardanger fiddle) and Niels Van Heertum (euphonium).
Released on Smeraldina-Rima.
Listen to more album tracks on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
And also check out a recent recommendation for Nils Økland (link).